I pulled in to the parking lot. People were everywhere, and the local radio stations had their advertising tents out and were broadcasting the fundraiser live from the street. One of my “Bad Boy Blast” OPD officers ran over to me, yanked open my door, pulled me out of the vehicle, and wrapped me in a bear hug. A "Bad Boy Blast" MPD officer comes up, and joins our embrace. Tears flow. My heart breaks for them - their pain and loss is such a huge and gaping wound right now.
This senseless tragedy has affected many in our local community. Though there is much pain and grieving, it is also good to see the golden threads of love and support being woven throughout the tapestry, pulling all the people together as one – not only the law enforcement agencies, but both general communities of Midland and Odessa. And it is right that it be so.
The fundraiser started around 6 a.m. this morning. When I left at 12:15pm, the total raised today had risen over $52,000.00 towards the fund, and the amount was still climbing. That’s just Midland alone, not counting what Odessa has generated(which in itself is a very substantial amount).
And there is a plethora of fundraising going on. For one example, both Odessa and Midland McAlisters’ delis are donating all the proceeds from one entire day to the fallen officers' benevolent fund. That is an amazingly generous action for a business. And if I know our community, there will be a huge amount of benevolence that happens behind the scenes, without any fanfare.
The outpouring is amazing – of resources, prayer, and love. Make no mistake, these brave men will never be replaced, on the force, or at home; however, the show of community support could pave a portion of the road towards the healing everyone needs. And speaking of needs, the grieving families left behind will need not only emotional, but financial support - their wives will be in financial need, and their kiddos will need housing, food and clothing. There will be medical, school, and college expenses - and this community plans to make it happen for them. This community is determined to honor these men who protected and served us - I can feel it in the air, it's that strong.
I am honored to be part of this place we call the Permian Basin.
(Donations can be sent to the OPD Benevolence Fund Acct No. 9002668, c/o Odessa Employees Credit Union, 1006 E. Seventh St., Odessa, Texas 79761. For more information, call 432-333-2510.)